- New Mexico
New Mexico is one of the most unique states in the USA.
You'll be amazed as you traipse through the state admiring the landscape while getting to know the people and the legends by attending popular festivals and markets. Here are some ideas for when to plan your trip.
1. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
Imagine standing in a field on the outskirts of Albuquerque at dusk, breath misting into the October air, watching as the bright glow of hundreds of flames lifted flocks of colorful bubbles into the air. It’s a beautiful sight, and one you won’t soon forget.
Sunrise at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
2. Hatch Chile Festival
There’s one thing for which the small town of Hatch, New Mexico is best known. And if you really want to learn what it’s all about, plan a visit during their annual Hatch Chile Festival in late summer.
The terroir of the region contributes to the Hatch chile’s unique flavor profile, and the crop is shipped all over the world every harvest season. At the festival, you’ll get to sample classic dishes that feature the chile as an ingredient, and of course grab a plate of rotisserie-roasted peppers to eat on their own.
The prized New Mexican Hatch chile grown in Mesilla Valley
3. Roswell UFO Festival
Roswell bombards visitors with little green men at all times of year, making the most of that infamous story of the UFO that allegedly crashed near the city in 1947. But the extraterrestrial extravaganza rises to a fever pitch during July.
Exploring the extraterrestrial legends of Roswell
4. Santa Fe Indian Market
Each August, 175,000 people converge on Santa Fe Plaza, a Spanish Colonial-style public space created when the city was founded in 1610. Here, more than 1,000 Native American artists representing cultures from around the Southwest and the country showcase their work in what’s considered the largest event of its kind.
Santa Fe visitors explore and shop at the plaza year-round, but if you can make it during the Indian Market in August (or the smaller winter iteration in late November), you’ll no doubt leave with a truly remarkable memento of your time in New Mexico.
Native American jewelry at the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe
5. Taos Winter Wine Festival
This entry is a welcome reminder that New Mexico is home to excellent skiing and some pretty solid wines. Find both at the Taos Winter Wine Festival in January. Carve tracks down one of America’s premier ski mountains during the day, and then taste some of the state’s finest vintage wines paired with gourmet dinners.
At Taos Ski Valley for a day of skiing
6. Gathering of Nations Pow Wow, Albuquerque
Albuquerque's annual Gathering of Nations Pow Wow is one of the largest meetings of Native American community members in North America. It’s open to the public and features music and dance performances, an artisan market and street fair, and a variety of great food. The best part: Gathering is a nonprofit working to preserve and propagate traditions and provide scholarships for Native American students.
Gathering of Nations Pow Wow, a cultural experience
7. Santa Fe International Folk Art Market
Held around the same general time as the Indian and Spanish markets, the International Folk Art Market steps beyond the rich cultural heritage of New Mexico to showcase artistic traditions from all over the world. Eighty-seven countries have been represented by attending artists since 2004. It’s just one of many reasons why Santa Fe has been designated a UNESCO City of Folk Art.
Shopping for folk art at a marketplace in Santa Fe